With what time? (Single Dad with ADHD-Inattentive)

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    • #67046

      Ok, I wrote this once already, and my wifi ate it. Apologies for the length. Thanks ahead for reading and being a space to vent.

      How do you find the time to do everything? Is this even possible?

      How do you push your child through the school assessment process? How do you find child care when your son’s pee regression is going on 2 months and your (now second) provider is threatening to kick my son out? How do you keep your job when you have so many appointments and personal calls to set up appointments with the doctors, the teachers, the care providers, and the therapists? How do you keep your job when your productivity and interpersonal skills are deteriorating due to the stress making the vyvanse seem to not have an affect? How do you stop correcting your child? How do you stop shouting because having to manage an unexpected bout of my son’s impulsiveness wipes the routines out of my mind? How do I get exercise when I get home at 530 and need to get dinner made and my meds are wearing off?

      When I was going through my divorce, I read Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. It helped immensely to help me accept the changes to my identity, to my lifestyle, and the death of my future plans. Dealing with raising my son is not so easy for me. How do I accept that he may not be helped by medication? How do I accept that he may have pee accidents for another decade? How do I accept that I have to decide on what help he gets based upon money and time? How do I accept that he may always be seen as the “troublemaker” in class and that I have to get good at taking the call from teachers who don’t have the time or training to help him? How do I accept that I will make mistakes in getting care for him? (Mindfulness is normally helpful for me, but the stress is causing me to have mini-panic attacks when I engage my practice right now.)

      I’m doing the best I can as a single dad with 75% custody. I have to keep telling myself that, because I don’t have a lot of evidence. I’m still here, I guess, and I haven’t given up. I just don’t know how to maintain this pace indefinitely. Where do I compromise? How can I tell what to compromise on when the ADHD/anxiety drives me to imagine catastrophe behind letting go of “control” on something.

      So much of the parenting advice out there relies on the parent being neurotypical and/or part of an established support network. Patience, money, time-off from work, time for self-care … all things that I don’t have a lot to spare right now. I’m looking for behavioral therapists, but my insurance doesn’t list them like that, and the ones that get recommended as reputable are all no-insurance. (As an aside, this seems to be the case with a lot of mental health providers.) I’m looking at nannies in case my provider follows through with kicking us out, but I can’t afford a mortgage and $400+ a week even with my good paying job. I’m trying to get the assessment process going at my son’s school, but he isn’t responding positively to anything at home yet and I’m worried that without having any ideas the 504 may end up counterproductive (so my ADHD/anxiety is encouraging me to avoid it). Networking with other parents and support groups? Hah! With what time?

    • #67062

      I know from personal experience “Hang in there” and “It’ll get better” aren’t too comforting. I was right where you are. I felt like a failure half the time and when I did feel good about something I accomplished, something always seemed to be around the corner to knock me back down. Few tricks I picked up from my single Mom days:

      1. Dinner doesn’t need to be a four course meal. My kids are now a little older and tell me some of their favorite dinners as kids were mac ‘n cheese and hot dogs. Yeah, not healthy, I get it. But it saved my sanity more than a few evenings. Also – make the crock pot your best friend. Cook a roast of some sort in there and eat on that for a few nights. One of those roasted chickens at Wal-Mart/Sam’s/Costco are still a go-to on particularly busy nights.

      2. Housework can wait. As long as you’re not living in complete disgustingness – take a few minutes for yourself instead of washing those dishes or folding that laundry.

      3. Look at home daycares in your area. You might have to ask around, but many are licensed and insured and are a little more willing to work with you than center based daycares. Their rates are roughly the same too.

      4. If you cannot afford the therapies (right there with ya on that one), I’d ask your doctor for resources and tips to use at home. In our area there is a therapy center that works on a sliding scale. I used a center like that for my son. You might do a google search for “sliding scale therapists”. And stick with the 504 or perhaps look at an IEP. Some of the therapies my son received were done at school for free.

      5. You say you have your son 75% of the time. That other 25%, spend on you. Take at least a little piece of that to do something completely 100% for you. Even if that’s binge watching a TV show you love that is too grown up to watch when little eyes and ears are present. As for work, most employers are very accommodating when they’re told about the situation and presented with a solution. On weeks I know I’m going to be busy with therapies/appointments/etc. I might come in early or work through my lunch. Email is also a great way to communicate with teachers and school officials – you have a written record and you’re not on the phone.

      And finally, take a DEEP DEEP breath. It DOES get better and you’ll look back one day and say “WORTH IT”.

    • #67363

      I can’t add much to what Pump2Duncan wrote, great suggestions all, except to echo that you MUST care for yourself. Throw guilt out the window and give yourself a bit of time to breathe. Hopefully that would help give you some clarity on all the decisions you need to make. I believe that you are doing the best you can. Your deep concern for your son is evident. In the midst of it all, remember to enjoy him, too. I bet he’s a great kid!

    • #67410
      Penny Williams

      You are good enough. First, truly accept that there will always be struggles and remind yourself that you are enough. No parent is a super-parent and no family is without struggles. And, for goodness sakes, accept that you can only do what one human being can do, and that’s enough too.

      Next, take some deep breaths and sit down to make a list and prioritize. You can’t tackle everything at once. Trying to only dilutes your efforts on each item and makes you ineffectual on every front. Instead, figure out your top 2 priorities right now, and make a plan of action for those.

      I know all too well how easy it is to catastrophize and swirl the drain of what-ifs. I have anxiety that causes me to go there all to often. However, over the years since my son’s diagnosis, I’ve learned to take one day at a time. Worry about the here and now, and that will help the future fall into place as it’s meant to.

      A household routine can help a great bit, especially with making sure you have time to exercise and such.

      Behold the Magic of a Consistent Routine

      Therapy doesn’t necessarily have to be the traditional behavior therapy with a psychologist or licensed therapist. When my son was young, I found occupational therapy much more helpful — they work on behaviors triggered by sensory issues, poor self-awareness, poor communication skills, poor emotional control, and teach those skills for improvement. You will probably have a much easier time finding a pediatric OT.

      Parent training specific to ADHD has also been shown to be effective in recent studies. Your parenting approach and strategies are really at the root of being able to improve life for your son and your family. Traditional parenting doesn’t work for kids with ADHD.

      Raising a Child Who Wants to Behave

      Free Parent Resource: ADHD Discipline Strategies

      You CAN do this. And, we fellow parents are in your corner and cheering you on.

      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Mentor on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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